Cindy & Lynn’s ALA Annual 2018 Exhibit Book Awards

Cindy and Lynn: We’ve just returned from the ALA Annual Conference, where medals were handed out, speeches were given, and photos were taken. All of the award celebratin’ put us in the mood to issue another round of Cindy & Lynn’s Book Awards like the ones we gave out in February for 2017 titles. This time, we are giving out awards for books we hauled home from New Orleans, thanks to generous publishers. Drum roll, please…


The picture book that had everyone talking and gasping when they read the advanced copy in the exhibits:

Dreamers, by Yuyi Morales (Sep 2018, Holiday House/Neal Porter books)

An autobiographical immigration story that includes tributes to the power of books, libraries, and learning to read, enhanced by stunning artwork. Truly a book to get your hands on and to share widely. Everyone we met asked if we’d seen it yet. YES! And it is worthy of the buzz!



The book most likely to get you investigated by the FBI if you’re caught reading it:

Blacklisted! Hollywood, the Cold War, and the First Amendment, by Larry Dane Brimner (Oct 2018, Calkins Creek)

This one might even get you pulled over for a thorough search by the TSA in the security line. We figured it was worth the risk to read Brimner’s follow up to last year’s Sibert winning Twelve Days in May


The book that Cindy wanted most but couldn’t get her hands on:

The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy, by Mackenzie Lee (2019? Harper/Katherine Tegan)

The much-anticipated sequel to the 2018 Stonewall Award winner, The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, was not available yet. Rumor has it that it’s coming in the spring instead of in October. Patient. I can be patient…but, dang.


The book most likely to make your hotel roommate ask why you’re laughing hysterically:

24 Hours in Nowhere, by Dusti Bowling (Sept. 2018, Sterling)

Bowling’s Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus (2017) was a truly funny heart-warmer, and this new one had Lynn cackling away as 13-year-old Gus relates a race to find a treasure in Dead Frenchman Mine, defeat a bully—and maybe find their chance to get out of Nowhere.



The books most likely to be stolen by Lynn’s grandsons:

The 48, by Donna Hosie (September 2018, Holiday House)

The twins, now in high school, ate up The Devil’s Intern (2014) series. They are going to be ALL over this new one about a set of twins recruited to the 48, a clandestine time-traveling military group in charge of manipulating history. Their first assignment? Keep Henry VIII from marrying Jane Seymour. We won’t see that book till they BOTH get it read!


The Basque Dragon, by Adam Gidwitz (July 2018, Dutton)

Almost eight-year-old Henry will pounce on this new volume in the Unicorn Rescue Society the minute he sees it! We just raved about book 1, The Creature of the Pines before heading to the conference.


The book most likely to elicit comments from your airplane seatmate:

Spooked! How a Radio Broadcast and The War of the Worlds Sparked the 1938 Invasion of America, by Gail Jarrow (Aug 2018, Calkins Creek)

Cindy’s seatmate saw her reading Spooked, asked about it, then commented: “I think that woman over there is reading the same book.” It was Lynn, of course, but I just told her that it was the book that everyone would be reading this year. And they should, it’s great.


The book that made you feel like an international double agent when you secured an ARC:

The Bridge of Clay, by Marcus Zusak (Oct 2018, Knopf)

In order to get your hands on this limited galley (100 numbered copies), you had to keep an eye on Twitter and watch for a tweet like this one:

BRIDGE OF CLAY ALERT! BONUS ROUND AND LAST CALL There is a girl reading THE BOOK THIEF at the ALA meeting point by hall G! SHOW HER THIS TWEET for a postcard to redeem for an ARC of BRIDGE OF CLAY at booth 2041!

Needless to say, we got our hands on copy #13 of 100! We’ve not seen numbered galleys before! #thankful


The creepiest book that followed us home:

The Sacrifice Box, by Martin Stewart (Aug 2018, Viking)

With a cover featuring bloody footprints leading away from a box in the woods with eyes peering out from under its cracked lid and a tagline that promises: “A horror story about friendship, growing up, and finding a place in the world: Gremlins meets The Breakfast Club by way of Stephen King and Stranger Things,” you’ll want to keep the lights on while reading this one.


The book that will make you a hero with your patrons or colleagues that didn’t get to go to ALA:

The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge, by M.T. Anderson and Eugene Yelchin (Sept. 2018, Candlewick)

Talk about a dream team! Everyone’s colleagues will be blown away by this gorgeous collaboration by two of the industry’s best. Anderson’s text provides an Elfin historian’s perspective of his epic peace mission to the Goblin realms. Yelchin’s mixed media illustrations tell a VERY different tale. Where does the truth lie?



Debut book by a friend that’s so good you can’t stop smiling for him:

The Very Last Castle, by Travis Jonker, illustrated by Mark Pett (Oct 2018, Abrams)

Travis (100 Scope Notes blogger) was an elementary librarian in our school district before we sadly let him get away. We not only scored a hardcover copy of his debut book months before publication, but got it autographed for his old elementary school library. He may be with another district now, but he is not forgotten. Mark Pett’s illustrations add to the fun.



About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

Post a Comment